Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Saying goodbye

This was taken eight years ago. It's my sister, Ashley, and my cat, Nike.

Today, they are both on my mind.

I've been meaning to write about Ashley, and how she baby-sat Rye all by herself on Saturday.

I've been meaning to tell everyone how great she did. How she put him to bed all by herself when he told her he wanted to take a nap, how she played with him and got him more milk and helped him go potty and read him books and got up with him the next morning so Mommy and Daddy could sleep just a little bit longer.

I've really been meaning to do that.

Because she really did great. And I was so serious when I told her we'd love to have her spend the night MUCH more often.

But I haven't done that yet. Because my dad's visiting this week, and we're gearing up for a mini-vacation this weekend and I've been busy at work and I'm taking RSVPs for our class reunion in a few weeks. And I just haven't made time.

But I appreciate it. A lot.

My mom called this morning. She was crying.

One of Ashley's hamsters attacked another one, wounding it pretty badly. My sister discovered it when she went to clean the cage yesterday. They set up a triage in another room, and my little sister got up at 3:30 in the morning to check on it. They surrounded it with cotton and took some solace that the little guy was still breathing.

This morning, my mom called the vet. They were too busy, they said. She said she was bringing it in anyway.

But when she got to the car, it had stopped breathing.

A hamster funeral was planned for this evening.

For Ashley, I feel bad about this.

For me, I feel bad about this: The cat that I've had since I was 12 is dying. My mom told me this this morning, too.

Nike was a kitten when my mom and I picked her out at the humane society. She was a replacement for Cleo, the cat my parents got when I was 2 and stuck by my side through everything. I don't know if now, even as an adult, I'm completely over Cleo's death.

I named the fluffy orange kitten Nike because I had fallen in love with basketball and Michael Jordan and the Bulls and playing the sport as much as I could.

Nike slept with me at night -- throughout junior high, high school and the weekends when I came home from college. I used to think we talked to each other with our eyes.

When I got married and moved away, I considered many times taking Nike with me, but I never did. She seemed OK where she was, for the most part.

But now she hasn't eaten for a week, and her eyes are cloudy. She is frail and skinny. A skeleton, my mom says.

It is sad.

I know it's "only" a cat. And I can't pretend to imagine the horror of losing a child -- that must be a million times worse than this.

But still, I miss her already. And this sense of loss is also very real.


chris said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Nike. He's lucky to have a long-life friend like you.

Ashley said...

Thanks Veronica. I didn't really realize that baby-sitting could be so much fun. :)

I know, the way you described everything, I super-duper REALLY feel bad for you and Nike! I didn't know you got her at the humane society. That's cool. I'm all for that. And it's nice how she was always by your side. :)

I'm gonna be really really sad too if she doesn't make it, but the vets WILL help her live the longest she can! (Even if she is 15 years old.)

Jeannine said...

Hey where are you going?

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear about Nike. I start crying even thinking about Ariel die.

Ariel and I talk to each other with our eyes, too, by the way. =)